Quick Tip: Teaching Your Toddler To Recycle

When we first started the blog I said that I would talk about how to include your children going green.   I realized that I haven’t been doing as much of that as I would like.

Our Toddler Recycling

One thing I like to do is teach my toddler to recycle.  Ever since he could walk, my toddler has liked to put things in the trash (it can be a problem, I have to keep a close eye on some of our trash cans or we’d lose a bunch of toys and other stuff!) It can also be helpful, I’ve been teaching him to follow directions, and about trash and recycling.
I use simple, declarative sentences:

  • “Please put this in the trash.” and I point him to the trash can.
  • “This is paper, put this in the blue recycle bin.” and I point him to the recycle bin.
  • “This is plastic. We recycle this. Put this in the blue reycle bin.” and I point him to the recycle bin.
  • “This is yucky, it is garbage. Put this in the garbage can.”

I always watch him closely and make sure the item ends up where I say.  In the beginning I had to hold his hand and take him over to the can and help him put it in.  Now we’re up to the stage where he can take it himself and put it in the can or bin as instructed.

Eventually I expect he’ll be able to decide what is garbage and what is recycling.   With my older children, who are six, I have been teaching them to look at plastic for the triangle with the chasing arrows and read the number inside.  It’s easy here, because we recycle all the numbers 1-7, but I’ve been explaining to them that at Grandma’s house they have to look and see what the number is.  At her house, we can only recycle plastic with the number “1” or “2” in the chasing arrows.

When broken down into simple steps, recycling isn’t hard and even the youngest children can help!

Happy Greening!

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